Recent Posts

Who Pays for Fire Damage in Rental Property

5/21/2018 (Permalink)

When an apartment fire occurs, the outcome can be devastating for everyone involved. The landlord may lose out on an important source of income and the renter may lose many of their personal possessions. It can also be confusing to figure out who is responsible for replacing destroyed personal items or paying for a fire damage restoration company in Dallas, TX. Although one party may be held accountable for costs if the fire is deemed their fault, in general, the landlord pays for damage to the structure and the tenant is responsible for damage to the contents.

The Landlord’s Responsibilities

No matter who is at fault for the apartment fire, the property owner will need to file a claim with their insurance company. If it is found that the tenant was responsible for starting the fire, it is the insurance company that will deal with the renter’s insurance company or, if they don’t have insurance, directly with the renter. In cases where neither the tenant nor the property owner is at fault, here is what the landlord is responsible for.

• Paying their own insurance deductible
• Contacting the fire remediation company
• Pro-rating rent for the time the apartment is uninhabitable
• Returning deposit to the tenant

The Tenant’s Responsibilities

Unless the landlord is found to be responsible for the fire due to negligence, it is the tenant’s responsibility to replace their own damaged belongings. If they have renter’s insurance, they should file a claim as soon as possible. If they don’t have renter’s insurance, they will have to pay for the following out of pocket.

• Replacing or restoring personal property
• Hotel bills or other accommodations while the apartment is uninhabitable

If the tenant is found responsible for starting they fire, they will have to pay for damage to the building as well.

An apartment fire is difficult for property owners and tenants, but it can be easier to handle when everyone understands their responsibilities. If a reliable fire restoration company in Dallas, TX, is brought in to manage the cleanup, tenants can even be back in their apartment in no time.

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3 Mold Facts Every Homeowner Should Know

5/14/2018 (Permalink)

As a Dallas, TX, homeowner, you probably go to great lengths to protect your property. However, some potential dangers are not always easily seen, such as the encroachment of mold. This fungus tends to grow quickly once it takes hold and some species, such as black mold, can be difficult to eradicate. If you want to prevent or fight fungi in your home, there are a few facts to keep in mind so you can do so safely and effectively.

1. Mold Spores Are Always Present

You might think of mold as a substance that only appears in abandoned or dirty places, but in truth, mold can grow almost anywhere. Mold spores exist naturally in the air, both indoors and out, and seek out warm, moist places to settle and grow. While most types of fungi can grow in cold conditions as well, indoor types are usually found in places like damp basements, under kitchen cabinets and anywhere else your home may have a moisture problem.

2. Mold and Mildew Are Not the Same

One important point when it comes to fighting mold is being able to tell the difference between it and mildew. While both are in the fungi family, they do not share the same characteristics. Mildew is typically thin and filmy and can be wiped away easily, while mold is usually thicker and grows spores that give it a fuzzy appearance. Unlike mildew, black mold and other species cannot be easily removed with everyday household cleansers.

3. Mold Removal Usually Requires Professional Assistance

If you do encounter mold in your home, it is important that you call a professional mold cleanup and removal service rather than trying to treat it on your own. Qualified technicians have both the experience and tools to ensure fungi is destroyed without its spores spreading. Avoid touching any mold you find and isolate the area if you can until help arrives.

Fighting black mold and other types of fungus in your Dallas, TX, can be a challenge. However, when you know your enemy, you can defeat it with confidence.

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4 Simple Steps to Candle Safety

5/9/2018 (Permalink)

Candles caused up to two percent of reported home fires and four percent of direct property damage between 2011 and 2015, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Approximately one-third of these candle fires originated in bedrooms, where the person who lights the candle may fall asleep and leave the flame burning unattended. A candle fire can imperil the lives of the person who lit the candle, all of the residents – including pets – in a home, and surrounding residences. Here are four simple steps that you can follow to use candles more safely.

1. Place candles at least one foot away from any items that could catch fire. The most common cause of candle fires is when combustible materials kept too close to candles ignite and the fire spreads.

2. Never leave children or pets unattended with burning candles. The appearance or odor of candles can attract young children or animals who may sustain injuries or start a candle fire.

3. Avoid using candles in the bedroom. If there is a risk that you may fall asleep while a candle is still burning, you should not light a candle. Most fires are started in bedrooms by lit candles and cigarettes that become unattended when the person who started the fire falls asleep.

4. Try fire-safe alternatives to candles. Choose from a variety of flameless designs that provide an illuminated look or release scents.

As many as 24 candle fires are reported every day. The number of candle fires spikes during the holiday season when this style of lightning is used for decoration or to achieve a special mood. The most candle fires are reported in December and January, with a spike as early as Halloween. If you have experienced a candle fire at your residence in Dallas, TX, and are interested in fire or smoke cleanup, contact a certified fire damage restoration expert.

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Dealing With a Splotchy Ceiling

4/15/2018 (Permalink)

The ceiling never really stood out until some tile discoloration caught your eye, and now you can’t stop noticing it. The likely culprit is water damage from any number of sources, and if left unrepaired, it could lead to tile mold. Here are a few things you should do to tackle the problem.

Understand How an Unsightly Stain Develops

The first step is knowing where to look. Water damage can happen because of the following:

• A pipe is leaking.
• An appliance such as a dishwasher or washing machine may be leaking.
• The HVAC system may have a problem causing moisture to drip and pool.
• Caulking or sealant has come loose in a shower pan or fixture on the floor above.
• Wear or damage on the roof has allowed moisture to come through.

Stop the Water

The next step in addressing that brown, yellow, or gray stain is to contact a plumber to ascertain the cause of the water that is pooling on the ceiling. The source of the leak should be identified and repaired before any cosmetic repair is done. In arid cities such as Dallas, TX, a coat of paint can make the stain seem to go away, but if the source of the water leakage is not identified, the stain will often return because the discoloration is likely being caused by the growth of mold.

Eliminate the Mold

Besides being an eyesore, an untreated ceiling tile could become a breeding ground for tile mold. Before this causes any more serious issues, an expert can diagnose and correct the severity of the problem. As molds thrive in the wet, dark area above the ceiling, untreated mold could lead to air-quality issues or very serious structural damage.

Generally, professional mold removers follow EPA guidelines. They assess the moldy area, inspect for hidden mold, clean and dry small areas of contamination, remove and replace severely damaged ceiling areas, investigate areas around the damaged zone such as air ducting and wallboard, and safely dispose of moldy, porous materials.

Tile discoloration and tile mold shouldn’t be taken lightly. Proper repair and replacement can prevent more serious problems in the future.

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What To Do About Flooded Electronics in 3 Steps

4/8/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding poses the very real threat of electronic damage, and water-damaged equipment comes with its own set of risks. Knowing how to deal with damage to flooded electronics helps to reduce the risk of further damage and streamline the recovery process, getting your business in Dallas, TX, back on its feet faster.

1. Know your equipment. It’s important to be familiar with your electrical equipment before a flood happens. Electronics such as switches, fuses and transformers will likely need to be replaced, as water damage may be significant enough to eliminate the possibility of repairs. Switchboards and circuit breakers can often be professionally reconditioned, though you should consult the manufacturer. The degree of flooding, time exposed to water and age of the equipment can also impact the likelihood of successful recovery post-flooding. Guides are available to help you evaluate your equipment.

2. Disconnect the power. Compromised electrical equipment can cause harm. For example, an electrical socket that has been flooded can send a current through standing water, which poses the risk of electrocution for employees and recovery personnel. Even after the water itself has been drained, sparking due to compromised connections can start a fire, and safety features on flooded electronics may be damaged. Power surges that would have otherwise been prevented by these safety features can damage electronics that survived the flood unharmed, potentially increasing the cost of repairs. Disable your electrical system until a professional has been called.

3. Call the professionals. Due to the nature of electrical equipment, it can ultimately be safer and more cost-effective to hire qualified professionals for replacement or repair. Those with working knowledge of electrical systems are often more able to safely and effectively evaluate, replace and repair electronics. Improper repair can lead to more damage and a greater cost in the long term, as well as higher risk.

There are qualified professionals in and around Dallas, TX. They can assist in recovery from flooding by repairing and replacing flooded electronics to get your business back on track.

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3 Ways To Reduce Flood Damage When a Big Storm Hits

4/3/2018 (Permalink)

Knowing that a powerful storm is on the way tends to set pulses racing. No one wants to think about their home being damaged by high winds, heavy rains and flooding. Taking some key steps to prepare for the event, however, can help ease the minds of those in the path of severe weather.

1. Preparing the Outside of a House

Modern technology usually gives homeowners advanced warning of any big rain storm heading toward Dallas, TX. Generally, residents will have enough time to unclog gutters and storm drains and remove debris. Clearing out these essential defenses allows water to run off so it doesn’t pool and eventually seep inside.

Many people who are expecting flood damage use sand bags, which can redirect water flow and possibly lessen the amount that seeps under doors or windows. Those in the path of a major tropical storm or hurricane may want to board up windows with plywood to help prevent the glass from being broken by flying debris, which creates more places for water to enter.

2. Preparing the Inside of a House

If flooding seems likely, it’s a good idea for residents to turn off their water, electricity and gas. Moving appliances, furniture, rugs, valuables and key personal items such as photos and important documents to locations well above the expected water level should keep these items dry. Additionally, anchoring fuel tanks to the floor could potentially prevent a dangerous oil spill.

3. Finding Help After a Flood

In the wake of major storm damage, residents of Dallas, TX, can gather helpful information through contacting their insurance companies. Additionally, a professional restoration service can quickly dispatch professionals to remove water, dry and clean interiors and prep their houses for repairs.

A rapid response to flooding by experts can reduce damage and potentially save homeowners a great deal of money. That just may bring peace of mind to residents who weathered a big storm.

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4 Things You Should Know About Mold

3/30/2018 (Permalink)

For good reason, if you own a home in Dallas, TX, you may be worried about black mold infiltration. Few things can destroy the comfort and value of your house faster than a mold problem. As with other hazards in the home, understanding mold is essential to properly addressing it. Here are four things you should know about mold.

1. Mold Spores Are Everywhere

Mold exists practically everywhere in the natural world. Since mold spores are microscopic, they can be difficult to detect. Often, because most mold is harmless, lack of detection isn’t a problem. When black mold begins to grow indoors, though, homeowners should become concerned.

2. Complete Mold Removal Is a Myth

Some firms advertise mold removal instead of mold remediation. Because mold spores are present throughout most homes, eliminating mold is virtually impossible. As such, the primary objective of informed homeowners is to contain the negative effects of growth by contracting for mold cleanup.

3. Mold Remediation Requires a Process

Remediating mold is not necessarily a simple process. On the contrary, remediation generally requires successfully completing the following steps:

• Locating moisture
• Reducing moisture
• Removing contaminated materials
• Cleaning personal belongings
• Filtering air

4. An Inspection Is a Good Place To Start

Dealing with mold can be seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember, without professional training, identifying mold types can be practically impossible. Accordingly, if you see or smell mold, scheduling an inspection by a qualified technician is usually an effective way to begin mold cleanup.

While you don’t need to be afraid of mold growth, you do care about the condition and value of your house. Of course, like any other homeowner, you want your home to be a comfortable space. Since black mold can wreak havoc on the condition of your house in Dallas, TX, you should be certain you understand it. Armed with the right information, you can likely restore your dwelling to its pre-mold condition.

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Vacation Preparation: Stop the Flow Before You Go

3/24/2018 (Permalink)

Vacation is supposed to be a relaxing time, but it does not do you much good to unwind if you return to the stressful discovery that your home in Dallas, TX, flooded in your absence. Whether you need to hire a professional for water pipe repair or simply turn off your water main, you can protect your home against leaks and water damage by putting a few safeguards in place.

Check Common Leak Culprits

Before you embark on your getaway, it is important to complete a walkthrough of the usual flooding suspects. There are several appliances and fixtures in your home that could spring a leak while you are gone:

• Refrigerator
• Washing machine
• Dishwasher
• Toilet
• Sink
• Water heater

Inspect these items before you leave. Make sure all hoses are intact, and if you find a broken pipe, have it repaired by a qualified technician who specializes in water pipe repair. Look for damage such as rust or cracks that could indicate leakage.

Inspect Your Drainage System

You cannot control the weather near your home in Dallas, TX, but you can ensure your gutters are clear of debris. Inspect your downspouts as well so you can rest assured that rainwater can flow freely through them. Enlist a professional to make sure your sump pump is operating correctly so you do not return home to find that it has failed and allowed your home to flood.

Winterize Your Pipes

If you are traveling when temperatures at home are expected to get below freezing, protect pipes with insulated covers. Draining the pipes, turning off the water main and leaving cabinet doors open to increase warm air flow can help keep pipes from bursting.

The relaxation you experience while on vacation should not evaporate the minute you return home to discover you need water pipe repair. If you take a few precautionary steps, your home is more likely to remain safe from flooding.

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Does a Flood Mean Black Water Damage?

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

When discussing flood water, the characteristics of the water’s initial source usually determines how it’s categorized. The category determines how damage from each classification is cleaned and repaired.

Category 1: Water in this category comes from a source considered to be clean, such as water pipes or a water heater. Recovery from clean flood water is the simplest and fastest:

• Water is removed using portable or truck-mounted extraction equipment
• Baseboards are removed so that holes for air flow can be drilled about 16 inches apart
• Air moving and dehumidifying equipment is placed strategically to maximize evaporation

Category 2: Water from sources such as showers, washing machines and dishwashers is considered slightly contaminated but shouldn’t cause illness unless a large amount is consumed. Cleanup from category 2 water damage involves the same steps as above, in addition to cleaning and disinfecting carpeting if approved by your insurance provider.

Category 3: Because it is impossible to determine what substances flood water may have come into contact with, it is always considered to be category 3, or black water. It usually comes from sources such as sewage or bodies of water that overflow to cause storm damage. Due to being contaminated with a number of microorganisms and bacteria, the damage from water in this category mandates much more intensive and time-consuming cleanup:

• Any porous materials such as furniture, carpet and padding will be removed
• Non-porous materials can be cleaned and disinfected
• The affected area is isolated to prevent contaminating the rest of the structure
• Any structural elements contaminated by the water are cut out and discarded
• Disinfectant is applied to kill any contaminants still present
• Air movers and dehumidifiers are placed to remove moisture

After this process is complete, building restoration can begin. Much of the time it takes to recover from storm damage is consumed by obtaining bids and approvals for the work that must be done. Remediation professionals in Dallas, TX, can provide the expertise and equipment needed to repair the damage so you can rebuild.

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Stunt Mold Growth In Your Home or Business

1/26/2018 (Permalink)

Mold cannot be completely removed from our environments.  It is a natural part of our environment and exists in microscopic spores.  Many restoration businesses advertise "mold removal" and even guarantee to remove all mold. This isn’t possible.  What you are going to be doing, instead, is removing the triggers in your home that cause mold that cause large amounts of mold growth.

Where Mold is Likely to Grow

Mold is likely to grow in places that are dark, warm, & humid. These places include kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.  It’s also likely to grow in places that have previously had a water damage that wasn’t dried properly.  If you smell something musty in the air or see black spots growing on your walls, you may have mold.

How to Control Mold Growth

  1. Fix anything that is leaking.  That includes pipes, windows, and roofs.  A leaking structure or pipe that isn’t fixed will eventually cause mold growth and damage the structure that is absorbing its moisture.  Most people discover a leaking roof or pipe when they see secondary damage to their home, like a small pool of water on the floor or a water spot on their ceiling.
  2. Control the humidity in your home.  Mold likes to grow in high humidity.  An appropriate humidity level for your home is 40-50% Relative Humidity (RH).  In the winter months, it may be lower than 40% RH.  You can purchase a home hygrometer (a humidity meter) and temperature gauge at your local home and hardware store or online for less than $10.
  3. Ventilate humid areas.  Humid areas in homes are typically the kitchen, shower, and laundry areas where warm water is used.  After doing any of these activities, turn on your ventilation fan.
  4. Hire an experienced and proven water damage cleanup company.  If your property experiences flooding, hire a company with a record of successfully cleaning water damages from properties.  This company should extract water and monitor your property as it dries.  Ask for documentation to verify your structure has been properly dried.

If you find or suspect mold growing in your home, call us.  We will assess your property and, if anything is found, remediate your mold and help you find the cause of the mold and fix it.

Free, No Obligation Mold Assessments

SERVPRO of Bent Tree is ready to come alongside you and control the growth of mold in your home or business. We're available 24/7 at (972) 386-3808.